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Retrograde motion

An unusual aspect of the motion of planets is that some times a planet appears to slow down become stationary and move in the opposite direction. If it were moving from pisces to Aries, it changes the direction and moves back towards pisces. After several weeks it again reverse and continues to move in the original direction. This temporary apparent backward motion is called retrograde motion. This kind of motion can be explained easily in the Helio centric model of solar system ( ie. sun is at the center of solar system, instead of earth was the center of the solar system),. The speed of revolution of a planet progressively decreases as the distance of the planet from the sun increases.

Consider the example of mars and earth, while earth completes-one revolutin in a year, mars would have covered only about half of its revolution in this time. There fore once in about 25 months the earth overtakes the Mars. When this is happening, it appears to us that mars is going backwards in the sky.

This model demonstrate retrograde motion of planet "Mars" Here two spheres representing earth and Mars revolve around a common centre with the same ratio of real period of revolutions. The centre can be considered sun. As earth oveftakes the mars in the revolution, motion of mars will be retrograded for an observer on the earth. This will be projected on the screen by red light dot produced by laser key chain torch attached to sphere representing mars along with rod connected to sphere representing the earth. The movement of rod shows the line of sight of an observer on earth is changes as earth over takes the mars in the back ground of fixed star or constellation and leads to the appearance of retrograde motion.

 

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